VHF Marine Radio Operator


The efficient use of VHF radio depends to a large extent on the operator’s method of speaking. As the distinctive sounds of consonants are apt to become blurred in the transmission of speech, words of similar length containing the same vowel sounds may sound alike. Special care is necessary in their pronunciation.

Special care is also required in handling the microphone. Do not hold the microphone too close to your mouth because it may cause distortion or slurring of words and you may have to repeat your message to be understood. Speak all words plainly and end each word clearly in order to prevent the running together of consecutive words. Avoid any tendency to shout, to accent syllables artificially or to speak too rapidly. The following points should be kept in mind when using a radiotelephone.


Keep the rate of speech constant, neither too fast nor too slow. Remember that the operator receiving your message may have to write it down.


Preserve the rhythm of ordinary conversation. Avoid the introduction of unnecessary sounds such as “er” and “um” between words.

If the communication link is unreliable, or the wording of the text complex or confusing, use the command WORDS TWICE or, upon request, repeat the message using the phonetic alphabet. This should ensure that the information within the text of the message is received correctly.

Procedural Words and Phrases

While it is impractical to set down precise phraseology for all VHF procedures, the following words and phrases should be used where applicable. Words and phrases such as OK, REPEAT, TEN-FOUR, OVER AND OUT, BREAKER BREAKER, COME IN PLEASE, or slang expressions should not be used.

Word or Phrase Meaning for VHF Radio Procedures

ACKNOWLEDGE Let me know that you have received and understood this message.

AFFIRMATIVE Yes, or permission granted.

BREAK To indicate the separation between portions of the message. (To be used where there is no clear distinction between the text and other portions of the message.)

CHANNEL Change to channel ………. before proceeding.

CONFIRM My version is _____. Is that correct?

CORRECTION An error has been made in this transmission (message indicated). The correct version is _____.

GO AHEAD Proceed with your message.

HOW DO YOU READ? How well do you receive me?

I SAY AGAIN Self-explanatory (use instead of “I repeat”).

NEGATIVE No, or that is not correct, or I do not agree.

OVER My transmission is ended and I expect a response from you.

OUT Conversation is ended and no response is expected.

READBACK Repeat all of this message back to me exactly as received after I have given OVER. (Do not use the word “repeat”.)

ROGER I have received all of your last transmission.

STANDBY I must pause for a few seconds or minutes, please wait.

SAY AGAIN Self-explanatory. (Do not use the word “repeat”.)

THAT IS CORRECT Self-explanatory.

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